A Server's Journey

Go Off Script: Rocky DeStefano on a Culture of Caring

May 09, 2018
A Server's Journey
Go Off Script: Rocky DeStefano on a Culture of Caring
Chapters
A Server's Journey
Go Off Script: Rocky DeStefano on a Culture of Caring
May 09, 2018
Rocky DeStefano
Rocky DeStefano dives in to talk about how his Chick-fil-A business isn’t just about the chicken.
Show Notes Transcript

“Why does having a culture of caring matter? And if it does, what does it look like?” As businesses grow, empower team members to make decisions and to “go off-script.” When it comes down to it, focusing on interpersonal relationships with your team and guests ultimately impacts the bottom line. 



Speaker 1:
0:01
Welcome to this edition of a survivor's journey with rocky Desta, fano. Rocky has been a server since its early days of working behind the counter at chick filet, having been a very successful career. He has a story of Zone at rocky is also called upon to develop staff around the country, not only in chick fillet but in various other industries. Good morning,
Speaker 2:
0:23
rocky. Hey, good morning. Hi Don. Jay. I just want to welcome everybody and thank you so much for coming and listening and joining us on this journey. This is episode one or two. One. Oh, two, one. Oh, two. Yes. Thank you. That's a, you know, it's hard to say. No, it's an early in the morning still. Yeah, and you know today I really hope that we can talk a little bit about creating a culture of caring. Okay, well, I know you're a server and you've to a server all your life and you love to talk to people about leading themselves, leading a few people and then leading, many of which leads to a lead in our organization. Absolutely. So that's the journey that we're on here on a server's journey. Yep. Um, today you said you want to talk about caring. Yeah. You know, I, I think that's maybe the first place to start and I think the first question you gotta ask yourself is why does having a culture of caring even matter and then even more important if it does matter, then what does one look like?
Speaker 2:
1:23
You know, a culture of caring and it encompasses a lot of different things, you know, it shows leaders who are caring about the employees, it's employees caring about each other and if we do it correctly, everybody cares about the customer and the team and sometimes the community, even resignates with the company's purpose and creating a culture of caring is really impactful in a lot of ways. How can we do this? What happens? Well, you know, I, I think you have to, first of all, you have to really try to figure out a way to increase your employees engage, increase employee engagement. Um, and you know, that really affects a lot of things. Larry, when I was going to say what is engagement? Well, you know, it's, it's why are they there? You know, everybody comes to a job, of course they have to pay the bills and that's part of it.
Speaker 2:
2:11
I want a paycheck. That's exactly it. But when you get their engagement, it affects things like absenteeism. It affects her attention and productivity. And the byproduct of all of that, uh, are all that is, is caring, and that really impacts in the end, the customer experience. Well, what happens with the, the employee, if the employee is engaged, what happens? You know, I think time and time again, you're going to see that caring, a caring culture produces happy employees and in the end that creates happy customers and you know, happy customers. It's important because they come more often, they pay full price and even better they tell others how great you are and all of that matters because that impacts the bottom line. And it's not a dirty word, but you know, folks, it's nothing wrong with saying that there's a bottom line, you know, we're not running a charity, you know, we're, we're running a for profit, but we want to run a for profit business that has integrity and, and one that makes the team fill important.
Speaker 2:
3:18
Well, how do you, how do you do this? Well, you know, I, I think the first place is in order to care, they must first care about why you do what you do in the first place. And you know, I decided a long time ago that it can't just be about chicken. What I know, it's Kinda crazy, right? Well, how do you do that? I mean, you are in the chicken business. We are, we are, but we really don't consider that we're really in the people business. And you know, I think what has really helped us the most is, uh, we clarify and we communicate our purpose. So part of building a community of caring is aligning what you believe as a company with what you do and how you do it. And employees must understand your businesses purpose, otherwise they cannot help you achieve it.
Speaker 2:
4:06
How is that related to the customer? You know, purpose. Resignates resonates with everybody. It's not just your team. Um, you know, customers need to believe in that purpose in order to engage with your brand. Two. And one good thing about chick filet is you don't have customers. You have guests, right? Yes. It's, it's that little phrase. Yes sir. It's what you build into the culture grown. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And then, you know, they have to understand not just what the product is that we deliver, but they also have to understand why that's important. Why does caring matter? You know, apple is a great example of this. You know, they, they weren't first to market with their music device, the IPAD, ipod, and really, even though I'm in fact, I think it was motor oil that was first to market and some people even say that motor road I had a better product, but Motorola basically said, hey, we made this.
Speaker 2:
5:07
Here's what it does. And Apple said, we, we created this beautiful thing and this is why you need it. Wow. And so they just connected it, you know, and, and a leader, you've got to paint the picture of why what we do is important. Reading about Steve Jobs, I think his packaging was an important thing. No doubt it was so critical. Every little element when you open up that box and you get your iphone, if you have an iphone, you just fits so beautifully. Yeah, absolutely. And it's, it's amazing. So that's related to the customer. Absolutely. Yeah. And it paints a nice picture. Yeah. Well, and then you still have to go back to that question and you have to answer this for your team too. Why did we do what we do? What do we believe? And really it gets down to a deeper question of how can we be be the most impactful that that has to be answered and then you have to share it with your team.
Speaker 2:
6:04
Well, how do you do it? You know, it's, it's, it's easier said than done for sure. I think starting in answering that question, um, it can really help build a culture that sets you apart. You know, at Chick Fil a, we knew that serving food is what we did and it was a real need and people come in Hungary, but that, it was probably not going to resonate with our team. It just wasn't enough. It wasn't enough to get them up and, you know, get them to get ready to come into work every day. And now as I understand it, aaa started as a, as a diner. Sure. Yeah. What tends seat diner is a lot more like a waffle house. And it grew into this, this restaurant chain. Yes, it did. Okay. So that culture has got to have changed someplace. So what happened? Well, you know, I think that we took, and it's odd to say this as a restaurant to some degree, we took the focus off the food and began to focus on the people and that was the team and the customers and so forth.
Speaker 2:
7:09
You know, at, at, at Claremont are, our mission is make their story better. Um, it doesn't say anything about food. It, it talks really a given. Gives us a lot of leeway to explain, um, how we get the chance to write some story, some lines into every single customer. How did you come up with that? It was helped by our, a lot by our team and engaging your team. Yeah, absolutely. Engaging our team and, and you know, we, we talk about this when we first bring people on that our goal everyday is to interact with our customers and to add to their story and when possible to create joy and excitement into their life and just by being in the front line counter and good food goes a long way. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, how do you get people involved? You know, there, there's this element of empowering and engaging people and you know, you really can't force a belief down people's throat.
Speaker 2:
8:09
You can't force employees and customers to care about your purpose. Um, but if, if you can empower them and you can get them engaged, then there's an element of self leadership. You mean you let them do things on their own? Absolutely. Absolutely. Have to. How does that happen? I mean, you're in an environment where it's very controlled. Yeah. Yeah. I think you'd have to provide an environment where the employees feel empowered to take actions that in the end will help the company. When your team feels like they're part of the decision, Larry, the decisions matter a lot more to them. Okay. And so you allow people to make decisions. Yeah, we do the, the, the, uh, another critical point I would say is, you know, allow people to go off script empowerment. It isn't just about providing manuals and policies. Sometimes empowerment is really about allowing people the freedom to go off script.
Speaker 2:
9:05
Now what do you mean by off script? You know, we hire just like every other company, we hire people for a task that they're doing something, they're serving a customer or they're, you know, waitressing or, or making a drink. But we get this amazing thing. We get this free brain and in the process and you don't serve as, it can be transactional but, but caring is more than that. Caring is about giving your team permission to be human and you know, policies and procedures, they allow you to be consistent and that's important. You want to deliver the same type of service experience to everybody, but if you're going to go for caring than what people want, is authenticity more than perfection and you can do that at the front counter. Yeah, there really isn't any kind of manual for that. Larry. You have to move to an idea where people can be unscripted, they can be human and they can respond in the moment to what they think is the right thing to do.
Speaker 2:
10:12
How could they do that? What are the, what are some of the examples of that? You know, as, as companies grow, it definitely becomes more difficult. And I think that, you know, in our world today we kind of shy away, you know, the pc approaches, hey, let's keep this relationship business, but I think you have to focus on personal relationships. I'm in not just with your staff, but really also with your customers and you have to develop deeper relationships. It's got to be a goal. You have to be intentional about it. No, wait a minute. I'm coming into your store. I'm ordering food. If the wait line isn't too long, it's like 15 minutes. Fifteen seconds. Excuse me to give the order. Maybe it's a minute. Okay. So how am I interacting off script with a customer or with your people? Your employees? Yeah. Yeah. I, and we'll talk a little bit later in this episode about a story that really put this into focus, but again, allowing them to go off script, allowing them, you know, just a few moments to notice the person's hat or to see if they file the same sports team or hey, you got a little girl, I've got a little girl at home.
Speaker 2:
11:29
The, these interpersonal things. It matters. It just matters to a lot of people. Um, and then even with your team, Larry, I'm at an operational level. It can mean things like more facetime instead of, you know, emails more, more meetings instead of emails and more meetings. Oh No, not more meetings. What's going to happen? Well, you know, meetings are terrible unless effective in when you party or meeting part of your DNA is getting to connect with your team, the meetings at a lot of value. You've got a very large. You went from a world of staff with 30 people to 110. Is that correct? Yes. And, and how do you deal with that? How, how can you be that personal with everybody, you know, that is a, a struggle for every leader and it was much easier at 30 than it is at 112, you know, at 30 and honestly transparently when my kids were not in the picture or when I was younger, it was easier with 30 people on staff to go to their plays or their sporting events or know everything about their life with 112.
Speaker 2:
12:43
It is much, much difficult and I don't think we should fool ourselves with that. You've heard, of course you know that I'm a spiritual person and so I look a lot at the Bible as a guide for leadership and you know Jesus. Yeah, he, he talked to 15,000 people, he spoke and he preached, but you know, he really had this inner inner group of 12 people and if you get even deeper, he really spent time with three people and I think sometimes we fool ourselves because we think we're better than that and the reality is we're not. So as your organization grows, you're going to have to create more leaders that people follow and it works well because maybe they follow kyle, but kyle talks about the things I've done in his life where I've been personal and suddenly I get this credibility with a team member that I can't spend tons and tons of time with, you know, and, and that credibility and it includes employees, but it also can include customers and really everyone that touches or is touched by your brand carrying.
Speaker 2:
13:59
It can't just be about guest or customer. It has to be about me caring about Kyle, who cares about other people who care about customers. And it's this cyclical. You've got this weird relationships going on, but don't. You're a major company. You're going to have a policy manual. You've got to have structure, you've got to have something to work by. How does that work into this relationship? You know, one thing that we talk about Larry, because at the end of the day, policies can't be more important than people and everybody interacts differently. How I may interact with a customer to be human or to make it personal is much different than somebody else and you have to give them that freedom within your organization to be themselves and really you have to start. You have to walk that talk. It can't just be about things you say. You have to listen, you have to really hear your people and then you have to take action.
Speaker 2:
14:59
You know, people take their cues from their leaders. You have to live your purpose. So if, if our purpose is make their story better, I can't really have a policy around that isn't to your purpose. Chicken. Yeah, chicken is a beautiful thing and when you do these things right, you get this beautiful sound. I'm ringing registers. It does lead to success, but chicken isn't the reason. It's really about people. It's really about the service. So the journey here is getting people to work with you. Yeah. But also it is. We're in the business world. Yeah. And it is ringing the cash register. Absolutely. There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with that, you know, and, and really if you know customers, people are going to spend their money and what we've got to do is give them a reason to spend it with us.
Speaker 2:
15:50
And I think what chick fil a has done is it is about food and the foods. Great. And you know, you're going to get this first smile all the time, have a clean restaurant, but there's this other part where, hey, we don't want to be intrusive, but we want to let you know that we see you for who you are. And uh, we want to kind of get to know you a little bit. Okay. Now you mentioned chick fillet. How many stores are there now in the floyd system? We're topping at about 2100 stores and they opened about two every week. Now they're, they're really coast to coast right now. Yeah. We're in almost every state. I think there's a few states we haven't hit, but they should be hit pretty soon, including Hawaii. They're actually starting to look at that. Wow. That's a, that's a stretch for the.
Speaker 2:
16:36
Yeah, for sure. Yeah, for sure. Also, truck gonna pull up there. Well, yeah, we'll, we'll, we'll figure that out. I think. Okay. Um, you have stores across the country now. This is a major chain and, and yet again, the service and the caring is one of the important things of the chair. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Now, how do you communicate that to the team? I, you know, we talk a lot at and we've already talked a lot about stories and I love a good story, but it's not just me. I think everybody is moved by a good story and you know, I'm a movie guy, Jay. I know you're a movie guy too, you know, when you've been to a good story. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, when you've been to a bad one and when you haven't been to a bad movie, you've sent that as wanting their money back because you felt cheated.
Speaker 2:
17:26
You know, everybody is moved by story and, and really you can activate your purpose through storytelling. Sharing stories is very, very powerful. So what's the story that you have at chick fil a? What would be a story and how would you communicate this to your employees? So, so this is a, this is an interesting thing that I wanted to share, you know, sharing stories is something that you have to do internally. And so the other day I was approached by a lady who told me about an experience she had. She had come to our store and she wasn't having a very good day. Her mom has been very sick. In fact, she had just been to the hospital to visit her mom and her mom has, has been in there for awhile. It's been an extended stay. And she told me that she was greeted by one of our cashiers.
Speaker 2:
18:14
I'm the cashier engaged her and mentioned that, hey, it looks like you're not having a very good day. And the customer shared, you know, I've been, you know, having to deal with a sick mom. She's in the hospital right now and the team member actually bought her meal and uh, first of all, of course it gives you a lump in your throat as the leader to know that they're getting it and they're acting. They're there. They feel empowered to go off script or that team member did that on her own. Her, I assume it's a her. Yes. It wasn't hurting. That's a very good call though, guys do it too. But, um, it became this great story I got to share with my team internally and you know, it costs some money. It costs, you know, maybe $8 during that transaction. But what was great is, and, and when you do stories right, the customers, they share it externally and that really in the end is the most effective way to share your purpose.
Speaker 2:
19:16
And so it costs me something that visit. But boy, I tell you what, I, I can't imagine the amount of money that that has brought in or how many people she's told 'em that matters. Wow. So you've got to have a clarity of purpose. You want to engage your staff and your customers. Absolutely, you want to, you want them to be able to go off script and to tell the story when they need to. Right. Absolutely. And you think the most important thing is the personal relationship with your staff. I think I'm passing that down from manager to manager. Yeah, I think that's it. I think it's, again, it's not something we hear a lot about. I think it's pc to, to not be that way, but it just doesn't work. How about your employees? The line workers, they tell your stories to write share.
Speaker 2:
20:06
Yeah. You, you know, and then it goes up the chain. Yeah. And, and again it makes you feel good. I think you get to a, you know, there's, there's pressure, you know, every talks about a peer pressure and the reality is it can be negative, it can also be positive and so when the team is excited about living out the purpose and they begin to tell you it impacts not only you, but it also impacts the rest of the team because they understand, okay, we really mean what we're saying. So you're on a journey. Absolutely. After all, we're all on a journey here. Yep, and this is a journey of one, learning how to care, but you're going to have a lot of stories like this. Absolutely. This is one, one step on the journey and of course the journey starts this one step at a time and moving forward.
Speaker 2:
20:55
Until next time. Oh wait. Oh yeah. We should probably tell them to go to our website. Oh, good idea. That's a service journey and of course a check us out. You're going to see, you know, on, on the website. They'll be further content into some of the topics that we talk about on our show on the podcast and will be a variety of other things too that you can kind of poke around in and checkout and we want you to tell your friends, share your co workers because this is really a journey to help you engage yourself. To grow. Yeah. This is, you know, somewhat of a movement. We want as many leaders and as many teams all across the country to kind of get this vision of treating each other this way because we want to really turn around a society, hopefully. Good idea, so
Speaker 1:
21:45
if you would ask your friends or yourself please subscribe to the podcast, you can do that very easily and a wake up, more things coming up again next week. Until next week, I am rocky desk, the final, and I hope that together we are going to make a lot of stories better. Thank you very much for listening.
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